The History of Microsoft - 1975

Thirty-four years ago, a nineteen year old kid and his twenty-two year old business partner sold their first program to a little computer company in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The program was called BASIC, and it was the start of this company we call Microsoft.

Today, we’re beginning a brand new series called The History of Microsoft. Travel with us back in time as we discover the roots of one of the world's most important technology companies. Using rare video and photos we bring you the heart of Microsoft's struggles and successes. Year by Year. Every Thursday we will air a brand new episode beginning with 1975 where "The History of Microsoft" all began.

We hope you enjoy this historical journey.

1975 History of Microsoft Timeline:

January 1, 1975

The MITS Altair 8800 appears on the cover of Popular Electronics. The article inspires Paul Allen and Bill Gates to develop a BASIC language for the Altair.

February 1, 1975

Bill Gates and Paul Allen complete Altair BASIC and sell it to Microsoft’s first customer, MITS of Albuquerque, New Mexico. This is the first computer language program for a personal computer.

March 1, 1975

Paul Allen joins MITS as director of software.

April 7, 1975

“Altair BASIC – Up and Running,” declares the headline of the first edition of MITS Computer Notes.

July 1, 1975

Bill Gates' and Paul Allen's BASIC officially ships as version 2.0 in both 4K and 8K editions.

July 22, 1975

Paul Allen and Bill Gates sign a licensing agreement with MITS regarding the Basic Interpreter. The name Microsoft has not yet been chosen, and Microsoft is not yet an official partnership.

July 29, 1975

In a letter to Paul Allen, Bill Gates uses the name "Micro-soft" to refer to their partnership. This is the earliest known written reference.

December 31, 1975

The 1975 year-end sales total equals 16,005 dollars, as detailed on Form 1065 U.S. Partnership Return of Income.